Category Archives: Stephen Black

ARIA/Stephen Black/Sayuri Okayama/ Background for Press, Bloggers and Podcasters

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Currently bootstrapping, they have established a worldwide network of collaborators, and look forward to speaking with potential partners of any kind, including investors and VCs.

Stephen Black and Sayuri Okayama aim to be the Pixar of location-based AR: original characters, stories and software.

Stephen’s “unicorn”, a separate AR project, can be discussed by appointment.

Stephen is a bestselling writer, has a degree in Photographic Illustration and is an established visual artist. As a producer, he has worked in theatre, butoh, music (3how) and network television (Fuji TV, Fox, CNN and Cartoon Network).

Sayuri has extensive research in the travel industry, and conducts research related to all aspects of the startup.                                      More biographical information at the end of this document.

The Bubiko Orwell Tour  2017/8    Stephen and Sayuri: digital nomads in SE Asia, planning AR/VR/MR, building a network, sourcing distinctive air-freightable food products, and researching food/culture. Attended Rise (“the largest and most exciting tech conference in Asia” – Forbes), HK Book Fair, Ani-Com and Games Expo HK, Supercharger Fintech Incubator Year in Review event (HK),Thailand Design Week and Amazon AWS events.

Participation: HK Food Hackathon, Ipoh Malaysia Tourism Rebranding campaign.

Presentations: Ipoh, Malaysia, Sasin School of Business (Bangkok), HK PolyU, Hong Kong MakerFaire, TechCrunch and Le Wagon (Shenzhen).

Alphabet Spikes is the book Stephen is writing about the tour.        www.blacksteps.tv/

The ARphabet Tour  2019                                        Now accepting bookings.

  www.blacksteps.tv/the-arphabet-tour-in-your-town-how-to-do-schedule-it/

Kabaq, leaders in the creation of AR food models

S Nizo mobile video editing


Maker space in Shenzhen

Producers of the Dundercats

Friends of the ARphabet Tour

Sponsorship opportunities: http://www.blacksteps.tv/eight-reasons-for-sponsoring-the-arphabet-tour/

Three separate components: AR, Books/Writing and the Mango Sticky Rice Experience

Beginning with ARIA@MIT, the 100 day tour now includes stops in Phoenix, at SXSW(Austin) and the Game Developers Conference (San Francisco), as well as NYC, Washington DC, and the Chicago/Detroit area.

AR component:

Powerpoint presentation, Q and A, ARKit/Unity game demo featuring Green Bean Boy and Bubiko Foodtour, by Dominique Wu and Michael Stragey

More information here

Books/Writing component:

Readings from Stephen Black’s book, including the bestselling i ate tiong bahru.

Workshops: custom designed; possible topics include self-publishing, Amazon strategies, writing techniques, plot structure and novels vs. screenplays.

Book titles:

the Agaricus Blazei Murrill Notebook (about a gourmet mushroom known for its anti-cancer properties),

Obama Search Words (fact-based fiction about Barack Obama),

Furikake (short stories, all connected with furikake, the Japanese rice topping)

I Ate Tiong Bahru (best seller about a historical area of Singapore),

Contact With Shadow (contemporary  romance novel featuring connections with colonial Singapore’s printing industry)

Bali Wave Ghost (novel; American reality TV star tries to make a fresh start in Bali)

Bubiko Foodtour in Shenzhen (food guide to China’s Silicon Valley)

Alphabet Spikes short stories and essays about the Bubiko Orwell Tour.

More information here.

The Mango Sticky Rice Experience:

A combination of deliciousness, AR, and food culture! Inspired by Bubiko Foodtour’s favorite food! Featuring real mangos, as well as an AR version of mango sticky rice created by Kabaq, the leaders in augmented reality food applications. More information here.

AR Characters:

Bubiko Foodtour (current model is a work in progress)

Bubiko is a little chef from Thailand. Her catchphrase is “aroi mak mak”, the Thai phrase for ‘very delicious’. Knowledgeable about all food, especially that of Southeast Asia, Bubiko is entertaining and informative.

On a technical level, Bubiko is a flagship for our other characters. We have plans to use SLAM and IoT to create cinematic, educational and entertaining table top experiences.

On a commercial level, Bubiko branding and merchandising possibilities are being explored, including, with a tablet manufacturer,  bundling Bubiko AR experiences and her favorite recipes.

The Bubiko Orwell Tour resulted in the discovery of numerous local, often organic, food products suitable for international food fans, as well as tea and coffee lovers. An area of exploration is a Bubiko brand/marketing channel.

Bubiko is a guest star in an ARkit/Unity game demo featuring Green Bean Boy.

Developer: Dominique Wu/Hummingbirdsday Studio, with Michael Stracey (veteran game developer, including Sponge Bob, Disney and X-Men)

Bubiko epublished a photo book about the food of Ipoh, Malaysia and is now working on a food guide to Shenzhen, China’s Silicon Valley. Bubiko Foodtour on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Bubiko's blog                                                          

Secret Donut World           

Created by Stephen Black and David Severn(UK/Japan), the Secret Donut World characters combine David’s wit with Stephen’s ideas on spatial computing. David is an internationally exhibited visual artist/painter and his work has been published in numerous Japanese magazines, children’s books and travel publications.

The Doughbots

Another Severn/Black collaboration,  the Doughbots will teach basic spelling and math skills in a fun and interactive way. (Designed for SLAM, spatial recording; with accompanying book).

The Dundercats

Adventurers in musical history as well as serious music instructors, the Dundercats are perfectly tuned for AR. Created by Aniela Chaudhuri, an accomplished violinist and instructor and Stuart Rankin, producer, former chief editor at CNN/Cartoon Network.

ARPHABET TOUR COMPLETE BREAKDOWN : www.blacksteps.tv      bubikofoodtour@gmail.com

Beach Road 360 movie
(featured at festivals in Singapore, Brisbane and Las Vegas)

SPOKEN virtual gallery created by Eugene Soh, curated by Stephen Black

ARphabet Tour: Secret Donut World

All of the sections of the ARphabet Tour are explained here.

A collaboration between David Severn(UK/Japan) and Stephen Black, Secret Donut World is whimsical, colorful and unpredictable. A combination of David's imagination and Stephen's spatial computing ideas, Secret Donut World exemplifies the potential of AR and MR.

At present there are a total of 50 characters and objects, many having unique spatial computing "special powers".

avante-garde art in I
Vance
Secret Donut World by David Severn and Stephen Black

All of the sections of the ARphabet Tour are explained here.

Le Wagon Shenzhen Presentation: Art and Technology, by Stephen Black

Le Wagon is a fantastic organization dedicated to teaching people how to code. It was a dreamlike honor to present my work, surrounded by the nightlife of Shenzhen, the new Silicon Valley.

However, the Powerpoint above mysteriously chose not to display every image. Here are the slides with a voiceover.

LATEST NEWS: THE ARPHABET TOUR 

ARKit games made with Unity
Presentation at Le Wagon, Shenzhen December 26, 2018
Green Bean Boy and other AR characters
Stephen Black's 100 day tour of America. AR, books and mangos.

ARphabet Tour: the mango sticky rice experience!

All of the sections of the ARphabet Tour are explained here.

Latest news! Kabaq, the leaders in AR food creation will be supplying us with an AR serving of mango sticky rice!

Mango Sticky Rice is a part of the ARphabet Tour because it is Bubiko Foodtour's favorite food. Bubiko is an AR character, a little chef from Thailand. Her favorite phrase is "Aroi mak mak", which is the Thai phrase for 'very delicious'.

CONTACT US to book a Mango Sticky Rice Experience in your town! arphabettour AT g mail dot com

Bubiko Foodtour (2018 version)

Bubiko has a photo book about Ipoh, Malaysia.   She has been in AR trials, but her first major project is an appearance in an ARKit/Unity game demo with Green Bean Boy, from Dominique Wu at Hummingbirdsday Studios.

Mango sticky rice, in the Thai Royal Cuisine style.

Bubiko, along with Stephen Black and Sayuri Okayama, went on a two year long journey through Southeast Asia. As digital nomads, they researched food, especially mangos, while planning an AR startup. Stephen started, and is now concluding, Alphabet Spikes, a book inspired by the experience.

The mango sticky rice experience

We are now looking for mango, coconut milk and rice suppliers and/or sponsor. Also, once the cities are finalized, we will contact local Thai restaurants and cooking schools. We will also look for ingredients in local stores. 

We are doing our best  so that you can sample, or even make, mango sticky rice! Mango sticky rice is aroi mak mak!

Additionally, we will:

  • present the latest mango nutritional information
  • types of mangos
  • mango distribution and availability
  • global mango trends
  • our mango experiences in Thailand and Southeast Asia
  • recipes
  • enjoy!

Bubiko is on Instagram. Here is her post about mango mochi!

FWIW, this post is about our Riceball furikake tour.

Stephen Black's books, including the best selling i ate tiong bahru.

CONTACT US to book a Mango Sticky Rice Experience in your town! arphabettour AT g mail dot com

Augmented Reality in Asia
article about Bubiko in Ipoh, Malaysia
Sayuri Okayama with Bubiko
The Mango Queen of Bangkok!

All of the sections of the ARphabet Tour are explained here.

ARphabet Tour: Indiegogo Introductory video notes

All of the sections of the ARphabet Tour are explained here.

Notes for the video introducing the ARphabet Tour on Indiegogo.

Location: Boulevard of Houqian Bei

Stephen Black standing in the heart of China's Silicon Valley, holding the 2018 laminated pamphlet of Bubiko Orwell Tour highlights.

Like this test: https://youtu.be/fM2Z6kr7mAs

Points to cover:

  • 2002: After years of working in art, photography and network TV (Cartoon Network, Fuji TV, Fox, CNN+) became creative director at 3D gamemaking company, WalkerAsia
  • Walker/Asia was also doing something like Youtube, three years before Youtube.
  • CEO's unexpected demise results in non-action, despite great interest by Singapore Ministry of Education, Singapore Science Center, publishers in Hong Kong and universities in Japan.
  • SB, son of a book salesman, decides to write books and wait for VR/AR/spatial computing to become mainstream. Inspirations: his father, a book salesman and the release of the Kindle, Amazon's pioneering ebook reader.

  • Visa complications result in what will become the Bubiko Orwell Tour of Southeast Asia. SB pivots from VR to AR.
  • AR cinema becomes the focus, starring the following characters: the Dundercats (collaboration with Six Cat Studio), Secret Donut World (collaboration with David Severn) and Bubiko Foodtour.
  • AR presentations/workshops at Hong Kong PolyU, a presentation at Le Wagon and pitches to VCs at TechCrunch.
  • An invitation to participate in ARIA at MIT  becomes the inspiration for the ARphabet Tour. Debuting at ARIA will be an ARKIT/Unity collaboration with Dominique Wu/Hummingbirdsday Studios, a game featuring Green Bean Boy and co-starring Bubiko Foodtour.
  • The ARphabet Tour will also be a platform for Stephen Black to do readings and writing workshops.
  • The ARphabet Tour also aims to educate people about mango sticky rice, Bubiko's favorite food.
  • Separate from this, briefly mention the unicorn concept which has a high degree of success regardless of the global economy or 5G take-up.

All of the sections of the ARphabet Tour are explained here.

Presentations and workshops by Stephen Black at HK PolyU.

ARphabet Tour

Stephen Black

the ARphabet tour

Indiegogo Prelaunch  page.

With the three topics of AR, Books and Mango Sticky Rice, The ARphabet tour starts at ARIA at MIT, January 14 and 15, 2019.  AR-themed presentations are one part of the tour, the second involves readings and writing workshops.There is also a component called The Mango Sticky Rice Experience.http://www.blacksteps.tv/the-mango-sticky-rice-experience-part-of-the-arphabet-tour/

The ARphabet Tour is fun, serious and now taking bookings for the United States and Canada. After stops at SXSW in Austin, Texas and the Game Developers' Conference in San Francisco, The ARphabet Tour will wind down around the first of April.


Newest version of the flyer.

Although I am planning an AR startup, the talk is about AR trends and developments. I am not using this tour as a way to directly seek investors or partners. I am interested in promoting AR as a whole.

Here is an example, from my workshops last summer, at HK  PolyU.

AR: 2018 State of the Art Workshop @ Hong Kong PolyU

AR Presentations

Presentation will be focused  to provide maximum relevant information to any of the following groups. No AR knowledge or experience necessary. Consultations should be scheduled separately.

  • General
  • Children
  • Grade School Students
  • High School Students
  • University Students
  • Advertising/Media
  • Food Industry
  • Medical
  • Artists, including Dancers and Sculptors
  • Filmmakers
  • Writers and Poets 
  • Investors

Unless requested otherwise, the presentations are not overly technical and consist of personal experiences and observations about the past, present and future of AR.

Introducing  Bubiko Foodtour, an AR character

Readings and Workshops

Son of a book salesman, author of fiction and non fiction, writer for TV, websites and magazines, Stephen is well experienced with the art of writing. One of his books, I  Ate Tiong Bahru, is a national bestseller in Singapore. The readings provide a behind-the scenes look at Stephen's writing techniques, inspirations ad challenges. Stephen's books and related videos and reviews can be found here.

Workshops, as much as possible, focus on ideas and text provided by students. After explaining his own writing process, write and share their own texts and ideas, which are evaluated individually and with the class as a whole. Workshops can be modified for any age group or level of writing experience. I have taught English in Japan,as well as creative writing/poetry performance  in Singapore. I also studied in an invite-only class with Robert McKee, the legendary teacher and author of Story, the definitive guide to screenwriting.

Publishing Magnates
Stephen Black , Book Merah CEO/author , with Stuart Rankin, Chairman of The Dundercats Multimedia Group.
360 films
Stephen Black in Beach Road, the 360VR film he co-produced with Hiverlab. The film has been featured in festivals in Las Vegas, Brisbane and Singapore.

Mango Sticky Rice. Yes, we will also be doing presentations and workshops on mango sticky rice. Why? Because mango sticky rice is Bubiko Foodtour's favorite food. We researched it extensively during our tour of Southeast Asia, especially in Thailand.

About Stephen Black

After graduating with a BFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Stephen Black experienced the growth of digital media from these viewpoints: as a photographer, as a video artist in New York's  Lower East Side and Japan; as a producer/writer/director for Cartoon Network and Turner Classic Movies in Hong Kong, and as a self-publisher of ebooks, books and photography books.

He was first drawn to the possibilities of spatial computing/AR/VR as the creative director for a $3.2 million game-making startup in Singapore. In 2007 he committed himself to writing books, while anticipating the arrival of AR and VR. And here we are...

Presentations and workshops by Stephen Black
A Chinese newspaper review of i ate tiong bahru. iatb is available as an audio book and a softcover, on Amazon. The first edition of the printed version is sold out.

HQB VIBE: NEW EYES (the first of a series of paintings created by Stephen Black)

HQB Vibe: Baby 2
HQB Vibe: Baby 2

The paintings are rectangular, the grey and white checks are part of the painting.

Lotus Mountain Notes

Lotus Mountain is about a robot and the man who broke her heart. The 360 VR short film written by Stephen Black and co-directed by Leo Wei and Stephen Black, is currently in postproduction.

Lotus Mountain features Alps Bethneck, who can be seen in the 360VR film Beach Road, as well as The Changi Murals, a short film directed by Boo Jun Feng.

The other stars of the film is the dynamic city of Shenzhen, the Silicon Valley of China.

Chinese city landmarks

Shenzhen Civic Center at night.

This page will be updated often in the next two weeks. The list of people we wish to thank is long, but for the moment, the producers would like to especially thank Stuart Rankin and the Dundercats/Six Cat Studios, Kandao 360 cameras, John Batten, Simon Carr, Ikram Choudhury, D Cafe, Angelo Costadimas/Bao Bao Films and the amazing teachers, administrators and students of the Multimedia & Entertainment Technology (MSc) Department of HK PolyU, especially Gino Yu, Dr. Ludovic Krundel and Giovanni Lion.

Last but definitely not least, Lotus Mountain features the talents of bassist/composer/teacher Rei Shimizu and Scobot, the VR artist whose World One VR artwork has been attracting attention worldwide.

scobot WORLD ONE SIFF2018 360 from scobot on Vimeo.

Rei Shimizu's bass playing featured here...

Lotus Mountain

Latest info about Lotus Mountain here.

Based on Leng Mo, a story from Alphabet Spikes by bestselling author Stephen Black.

LOTUS MOUNTAIN

a Weiblack Machine Production

A 360VR FILM

NOW IN PRODUCTION/POSTPRODUCTION

SET IN HONG KONG & CHINA’S SILICON VALLEY

REUNITED, FIVE YEARS AFTER HE BROKE HER HEART.

SHE’S A ROBOT. HE’S THE MAN WHO MADE HER.

Directed by LEO WEI and STEPHEN BLACK (Shenzhen Satellite TV, Beach Road, CNN, Fox, Cartoon Network, game development)

Featuring ALPS BETHNECK

Lead Actor: Changi Murals (director: Boo Jun Feng; his Apprentice film premiered@Cannes 2016)

Beach Road (VR festivals: Singapore, Brisbane & Las Vegas)

Original soundtrack by REI SHIMIZU

Japanese Bassist/Composer for CM/movies(toured HK with Sadato)

with Music by

3how

Since You’ve been Gone

The Riverwalk Session Album (featuring Amith Narayan(compoer/producer + music for a Tony-nominated play) and award winning vocalist Wilson Goh.)

Audio 360 sound mixing by Giovanni Lion

VR Art by SCOBOT (World One: Seattle International Film Festival 2018 Official Selection)

Producers: Leo Wei and Stephen Black

blacksteps.tv@gmail.com

www.blacksteps.tv

Alphabet Spikes Z-T (notes from June 2018, Hong Kong)

One of the books free/discounted, as part of the HK Book Fair.

Alphabet Spikes is a collection of stories, essays and experiments created from February 2017 until now--and in the future! The core of the book is here, on Amazon, but this ebook actually something like crowdfunding.

Once you buy the book, send me your email and you will get an updated ebook with new stories, as I add them. Right now, the version on Amazon includes stories about a game developer, Antigone Cloud and my brief encounter with Anthony Bourdain. Next will be journal entries from the Bubiko Orwell Tour, which voyaged through Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia and Hong Kong. The purpose of the tour was to research food, to create a network of people interested in AR, and two work on two books.

Besides the tour journal, there are, and will be, short stories, interviews and essays about Southeast Asia and people, events and places connected to it.

Alphabet Spikes: Art and entrepreneurship go on a road trip in Southeast Asia. Lots of eating, a few meetings, and nonstop ups and downs.

In reverse alphabetical order, the following are some of my experiences in Hong Kong; these will become stories and essays. Questions? Leave in the comments section, as well as any info you'd like to share. Thanks!

Zorn. Click to hear the HK/Macau/CBGB story.

Yam cha and dim sum

Yam cha! The literal translation is "drink tea". However, yum cha usually means eating a meal of dim sum. Dim sum are the foods served in the round bamboo containers. Dim sum restaurants are everywhere in Hong Kong.

Xu Xi at the launch of Insignificance

“An audacious, inventive and original collection: these ‘Hong Kong’ stories are full of clever energy and lively strangeness.” - Gail Jones On Amazon.

Walsh, Joe. Performing with Shear, Jules and John, Doctor.

VR HMD ad on a tram.

Uniworks, the display of students' work, near the entrance of the Jockey Club Innovation Tower on the Hong Kong Polytechnic campus.

Inside the Dome

Tony Tan, Delta Blues Audio

Tai Kwun Art Complex, just down the road from where I used to live.

Alphabet Spikes: Q-S is here.

another book by Book Merah